Why you really need to try one of Porsche’s Speedsters

As you may have guessed from the cover, the latest issue of Total 911 (released yesterday) is dedicated to Porsche’s four generations of Speedster, the iconic open-top sports car that helped cement the company’s legend in the United States of America.

I will admit however, that before our four-way mega test was arranged, the Speedster concept left me completely nonplussed. Sure the original 356 was as cool as an Eskimo’s icebox but I thought the 911’s the followed were mere pastiches of the initial concept.

What’s more, on paper, the 3.2, 964 and 997 iterations of the Speedster looked, to my eye, ungainly, with the double-hump cover lending too much visual weight to the 911’s already plump rear end. If you wanted an open-top Porsche, you’d just buy a Cabriolet or Targa, wouldn’t you?

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Yet, it didn’t take long to change my mind. First off, from Max Hoffmann badgering Porsche for a cut-price 356, to Exclusive’s anniversary celebrations with the 997 version, researching the Speedster’s history threw up many intriguing tales and titbits.

Of course, incredible backstories are almost par for the course with many of Porsche’s sports cars (especially their more limited edition examples) so the quartet of Speedsters still had to prove themselves on the road, something I was adamant they would struggle to do.

From first stepping foot inside the 3.2 Speedster though – my first ever taste of this iconic model – I knew I was onto something special. Seeing it the metal, the 3.2’s curves are truly done justice, while peering out of that lowered windscreen is a surreal experience.

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From my first mile behind the wheel, I simply couldn’t contain the smile on my face. I don’t think any 911 has given me more immediate joy than the 3.2 Speedster. I certainly didn’t think I’d be writing that sentence when the plan to get all four generations together was first formulated.

Undeniably, the 356 is the crème de la crème of the Speedster world, but the 911s that have followed are remarkably entertaining, not just as pieces of history but as actual automotive engineering.

Driving them unlocks a cavernous wealth of character; despite appearing to wear their hearts on their sleeves, the Speedster quartet need to be experienced first-hand to be truly understood. So if you get the chance, jump behind the wheel. You won’t regret it.

If you want to read more about the Speedster’s lineage and find out what all four generations are like to drive, pick up Total 911 issue 129 in store now. Alternatively, order your copy online, or download it straight to your digital device. 

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